San Francisco and Alcatraz

 San Francisco is a very large city and it has that big city feel but it some how manages to keep it’s casual undertone

Trolley Car in San Francisco

helping you to feel completely comfortable in your own skin and accepted for your differences.

There is a wide array of things to explore, intriguing architecture to admire, and great food to enjoy. 

When we visited San Francisco, we didn’t rent a car.  We decided to use Uber©, local transportation, and delivery services like DoorDash© instead. This was a great decision.  I would definitely recommend this in San Francisco because parking is limited and some of the steep roads are hard to maneuver if you aren’t accustom to driving them.  Our Uber drivers and delivery drivers, however, were fearless pros.  It also helped us streamline our trip.  We were able to see everything we hoped to see without feeling rushed.

Lombard Street

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You can also easily book tours to see the things that you want to see around the city.

You can book a Big Bus Tour and have a little more control over what you see and when you want to see it or you can book something like a VW bus tour.  We booked the VW bus tour and it was well worth it.  I would definitely recommend it.  It was fun, entertaining, and informative.  It was cozy, more personal, and we were able to see almost everything we hoped to see in a very short period of time.  We thought it was worth every penny.

If you would like to book with the same company that we used, you can find them here.

 



HERE ARE SOME OF THE TOP SITES TO SEE IN SAN FRANCISCO

1. Alcatraz

Number one on my list is Alcatraz Island.  I really wanted to see Alcatraz. My husband and I enjoy history and I had never been to an abandoned prison before.  Plus, Alcatraz is the prison to end all prisons…

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz at sunset

We were lucky enough to book a night tour.

San Francisco and Alcatraz

Night tours include beautiful sunset views, featured events, and extra prison wings that aren’t included in the day tours.

Sunset view from Alcatraz San Francisco

Be sure to book online as early as you can before your trip.

You can book a tour here.

Beauty on Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Alcatraz locker and shower room

Alcatraz Cell Wing

Alcatraz Cell Wing

If it is being offered during your visit, be sure to book the side tour up to the hospital wing.

Alcatraz Hospital Wing

It wasn’t actually being offered during our visit but we were able convince the sweetest guard to give us a private tour.  He was extremely knowledgeable and very interesting.  It was hands down, the best part of the whole tour.  Moral of the story?  Don’t be afraid to ask, it’s definitely worth it.

Alcatraz Hospital Wing

Alcatraz Hospital Wing

This bath tub was seen in the movie Escape From Alcatraz.  Apparently, Clint Eastwood was in it…

Alcatraz Bath Tub seen in the Movie Escape From Alcatraz

Alcatraz at night

The view to and from Alcatraz is stunning at night.  You get to see the sunset on the way there and the beautiful city lights on the way home.  I was worried that the tour would be spooky at night but it was really informative and surprising lovely.

I captured this photograph of the Oakland Bay Bridge and the city before we headed back.

View from Alcatraz at night

The Bay Bridge is stunning lit up at night.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge

Did you know that the Golden Gate bridge was originally going to be painted a different color?  I guess that the copper-orange color was originally supposed to be a primer but, everyone liked it so much, they decided to keep it.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate bridge is almost synonymous with San Francisco itself.  Although it is visible from almost any boardwalk, the best places for pictures is from Fort Point National Historic Site and Battery Spencer Park.

These pictures are from Fort Point.

During World War II, the government amped up security in San Francisco because they feared that they might be attacked following Pearl Harbor.  Fort Point was one of the buildings built for protection during this time.  You can still see the canons in the peepholes.

San Francisco Tours The Golden Gate Bridge

This was our tour guide on our VW Bus Tour.   He was a great.  He was fun, entertaining, and informative.  We learned so much. 

Hopefully you have the privileged of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge when it’s foggy.  It almost disappears in the clouds sometimes like in this picture…so pretty…it would be a little nerve-racking to drive through though.

The Golden Gate Bridge in the Fog

Photo Via: Unknown

 

3. The Pier

There are so many fun things to explore down by the water’s edge.  There is shopping, curious activities, and fabulous food.  You will want to make sure you visit Fisherman’s Warf while you are in town.

Fisherman's Warf

Some of the most interesting things we found on the pier were

a tour through a World War II submarine. 

This was interesting for us because my Father in Law served in the Navy, on a submarine.  It was cool to understand what he had experienced.  It turned out to be a very cool tour in general.  There is also a tour offered on a battleship that looks like it could be good.

The USS Pampanito

A vintage coin operated arcade. 

and the sea lions on Pier 39

So many sea lions lounge on Pier 39 that they have a live web cam on them 24/7.  You can check that out here.

Photo via: Pier 39. com

The seals at Pier 39

We enjoyed watching the sea lions more than we enjoyed the aquarium.  I wouldn’t actually recommend the aquarium which surprises me considering it’s in San Francisco.  I’ve heard really good thins about it but we were not impressed at all.  I may be a little bias though, we have a new, awesome aquarium here in Utah to compare it too.

There is also some really yummy food on the Piers, but I will talk about that in a minute.

4. Sites featured in Movies and TV Shows

San Francisco has been featured in an astonishing number of tv shows and movies.  It’s super fun to check out the locations.  The most famous spots have to be the Painted Ladies featured in the Full House intro.

and the curvy part of Lombard Street that is considered the crookedest street in the world and is featured in a ton of movies.

Funny story, our tour guide told us that Lombard street was originally straight but the locals that lived on the street chose to make it curvy because they thought that it would slow down traffic and detour people from driving on their road.  Unfortunately, the opposite happened.  The new curves attracted tourists and ironically, Lombard street became so busy that the locals now have a hard time driving down their own street.

Do you remember the home in Mrs. Doubtfire?  It’s a great tourist destination as well…

Mrs. Doubtfire's Home

After Robin Williams passed away, heartbroken fans places flowers at the foot of the home’s steps to honor his memory.

 

 

 

The Palace of Fine Arts is also used as a backdrop for a number of movies.
Palace of Fine Arts
Yes, San Francisco has been the location in so many TV shows and  movies.  It’s been featured in Party of Five, Ant Man, Star Trek movies, Venom, X-Men, So I Married an Ax Murderer, 40 Days, 40 Nights, Basic Instinct, The Love Bug, Planet of the Apes, Sister Act, and Escape from Alcatraz just to name a few.  San Francisco is an incredible backdrop for photography and video.  If you are a fan, it’s definitely fun to visit the locations of your favorite shows.

 
 


San Francisco is known for delicious food.  Most famously, it’s clam chowder, pizza, Tartine Bakery treats, and seafood.  Here are the best places to try “a taste of San Francisco.”

 

1. Tartine Bakery

Tartine Bakery San Francisco

Tartine Bakery is famous for their chocolate eclairs and fresh baked bread.

Chocolate eclairs Tartine Bakery

There is always a line for these tasty treats so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time.

Tatine Bakery to go

Tartine has published a number of fabulous cookbooks such as this Tartine Bread Book.

Tartine Bread Book

Tartine Lemon Tart

2. Bistro Boudin

When in San Francisco, you need to try clam chowder in a sour dough bowl at Bistro Boudin.  It’s as San Francisco as you can get.  Make sure that you eat at the sit down restaurant.  It different than the other locations.  You can make reservations on Open Table©.

Clam Chowder at Bistro Boudin

 

3. Tony’s Pizza

San Francisco is also famous for their pizza and Tony’s is the best.  Tony Gemignani, the owner, has won the World Pizza Championship 13-times.  It can get pretty busy at night but it’s worth the wait.

4. Fog Harbor

Sea food on the Pier with a fabulous view.  They serve a great brunch on Sundays but be sure to book ahead on Open Table, it gets extremely busy.

Fog Harbor

5. Ben and Jerry’s

Hint Hint…Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has a stand by Pier 39.  You may want to grab some on your way to visit the sea lions ;)

Photo via: Ben and Jerry’s Twitter

6. Mission Beach Cafe

Mission Beach Cafe is an great place for breakfast.  It’s cozy, warm, and charming.  

Mission Beach Cafe

Their french toast and avocado toast is insane and their candied bacon is to die for.

Mission Beach Cafe French Toast, Avocado Toast, and Candied Bacon

7. Sweet Maple

Sweet Maple is another amazing place for breakfast.  Their fried french toast in absolutely incredible.

Sweet Maple Fried French Toast

We had doordash deliver Sweet Maple the morning we had to catch our flight home.  It was well worth it, as you can see.

Hopefully this helps you in planing your own trip to the beautiful city by the bay.  I hope you have as much fun as we did.

I found these beautiful San Francisco Time lapse videos on Youtube that I thought you might enjoy…

 

 

Happy DIYing friends,

 

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